South Korea and China Conflict Over Islet in East China Sea

By Wang Manna, Central News Agency
August 26, 2007 Updated: August 26, 2007

The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy (ICHRD) reported that since South Korea officially named Suyan Rock, an islet off the coast in the East China Sea, Ieodo on August 7, hundreds of Chinese people are attempting to register and form the Chinese Association to Defend Suyan Rock by the end of August. The conflict between China and South Korea intensified over the islet with its reserves of oil and other minerals.

Citing information sources, ICHRD said that on August 7, the Congress of Cheju Special Self-Governing Province officially named Suyan Rock, which lies 93 miles off Shanghai and South Korea respectively, Ieodo and designated January 18 as Ieodo Day. Chinese defenders of Suyan Rock were angered.

Based on the information sources, Suyan defenders in Beijing and Jiangsu have been making immense efforts to apply to the Ministry of Civil Affairs in China for registration of a Chinese Association to Defend Suyan Rock. Once the registration is granted, they plan to legally raise funds to buy a boat with which they can land on Suyan Rock to claim China's sovereignty. However, the time now just prior to the 17th National Chinese Communist Party Conference is sensitive. They are not sure if they can successfully register.

Suyan Rock is estimated to be only two square miles, yet there are abundant reserves of oil and other minerals at the bottom of the sea. In 2001, South Korea invested 21.2 billion Won (about 0.2 billion Hong Kong dollars) to construct a large structure on the islet and used it as a South Korean marine base. Chinese people are denied entry into the base.